Case Studies for a Genetics Unit: A Review

I recently went through the Case Studies on that amazing National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science website, and I scoured it for case studies that I could potentially use in my genetics unit for 9th grade biology. Here’s what I found:


Designer Babies 101?

gene editing

Some scientists just got permission to edit human genomes in vitro. I’ve been talking about this with my classes–the “what if” factor, but this time, it’s real.

Read more here.


I have this one class. I sometimes wonder whether or not they have a pulse. I’ve tried all year long to get them excited, but every time I try, all I get is… cricket cricket.

Today though, we talked about how humans get genetic diversity through meiosis and such, and we were talking about how there’s a tiny tiny chance (about 1 in 200 billion) of making a person exactly identical to you. All of a sudden, I had their attention. Then someone asked: Has it ever been done before? Had two people that were genetically identical but who weren’t identical twins? #extracredit. I guess we’ll see tomorrow.

But until then, I found some super cool resources that I’d love to show them one day when I get to the twin mini-lesson.

I’d love to show them this image: identical twins marrying identical twins and having babies:

twins marrying twins

And have them read this article: A Thing or Two About Twins from National Geographic to give them the twins perspective on being twins.

I would also love to delve into the nature versus nurture issue: do our genes make us who we are or is it the environment?



Could a gene control Speciation?

They recently discovered the gene that controls the amount of crossing over that occurs during meiosis. Could be the next step in accelerating the formation of new species on earth?

Read more here.

new species formation


DNA, Genes, and Chromosomes in 1 Minute


Excellent video to illustrate how 6ft of DNA are coiled tightly enough to fit into the nucleus of each and every cell.

Check it out here.


Motherly Mitochondria

This awesome video explains how we can trace back our mitochondrial genes on our mother’s side of the family AND how we can use this same idea to trace back where humans originated from!

motherly mitochondria

Check it out here.


Photo Credits: Utah Learn Genetics



The Genetics of Blue-Eyed People

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have recently found that people with blue eyes all have a common ancestor–that trait came from a mutation in a single individual. So essentially, all the blue-eyed people are related… How cool is that?!

blue eyes.jpg

Click here to read more.


Learn Genetics

Learn Genetics

learn genetics

Awesome website for teaching genetics in an interactive format.


WOW! Glow in the Dark Turtles!

First ever biofluorescent turtle found near the Solomon Islands!!! Check it out:

biofluorescent tutrle.jpg

National Geographic documents this with an amazing video and article to follow here:

First “Glowing” Sea Turtle Found


Crispr: The Future of Genetic Engineering?

Is Crispr the future of genetic engineering?

Jennifer Doudna, the co-inventor of Crispr, talks about what Crispr is and what it can do for our future in her TED talk here.